March 8, 2015
Dearest Daniela and Nelya,
I love you both with all of my heart.
I begin this letter by telling you something I’ve told each of you many times before – I LOVE YOU. I have never tired of saying it and I will forever tell you how much I love you – until the end of time.
I think that you both realize that while I am not your biological father I consider you my daughters and, I hope, you look to me as a Dad in your life. I have been blessed to have each of you in my life through a hosting program. That would make you “sisters” and even though you each live a great distance from each other (one in Latvia and the other in Ukraine) my hope is that you would have the good fortune to meet each other someday. I am confident that you would become friends very quickly as you are very much alike.
You are both strong and lovely young women who’s lives are about to enter adulthood. In many ways life and adulthood has already met you face to face. In so many respects you have dealt with more challenges than most people twice your age. Through your courage and tenacity you have endured so much and I admire you for that. Many people could not have accomplished what you have done and you are my heroes.
While it may seem that you’ve dealt with so much already in life there is still so much more life yet to come for you. There will be many good times and events in your future but there will also be some tough times. There are exciting and adventurous times for each of you and I am excited for each of you as you experience life in all it’s glory. I am very blessed to not only be a witness to your journey in life but also to be a part of your lives in the future.
So, why am I writing to you now? Simply because the speed of life is about to get much faster for you and it will also become a lot louder! There will be many ideas, fads, things and people that will be clamoring for your mind, imagination, heart and attention. There will be many sparkly objects to tempt you along the way but not all of them will lead you to good places. So I thought that this would be a good time to tell you a few things while the opportunity presented itself. I hope that you don’t mind me passing along some information about life.
I will not pretend that I have unlocked the great mysteries of life or have any special insight into how to find the meaning of life. Nor am I so naive to think that you will actually heed all I have to say but perhaps you will; after all, when I was your age (and yes, I was once your age) I did not think my parents had anything to offer me in the way of advice. As I got older I realized my parents had a lot of wisdom. All that I can offer you is the benefit of my experiences and observations during my short time on this planet. You may feel it necessary to put my words to the test and that is certainly okay; I understand that. So here it goes …
● Life is not always easy and you will not be happy all the time; to think otherwise is unrealistic. There will be tough times and there will be times of sorrow; there will be times where your heart will feel like it is breaking and will never mend. However, those dark times will be outweighed, far outweighed, by times of wonder, times of sheer joy, times of laughter and times of love. The experiences of joy and love will, at times, make you feel like you cannot contain it inside your body and you will feel like you are going to burst! There will be times when you will feel connected with everyone and everything around you on a level that you will find difficult to put into words. Cherish those moments of pure love and joy for even in the darkest, ugliest of moments you must find the spark of beauty hidden in those moments and cling to those sparks! They will carry you through the dark moments.
● Speaking of love, when it comes to your boyfriends and husband, do not settle for a mouse or a pig … ever! Do not think so little of yourself that you feel you must accept less because somehow you believe you are not worthy of the best. I will say this very clearly – you are worthy of nothing less than the very best! Never accept someone who treats you like garbage or disrespects you as a woman or treats you as someone who is inferior; you are second-best to no person and you are glorious in your own right! Any man who is unwilling to support your dreams or defend you and your honor is not unworthy to have you. It is better to be alone than to be treated like a second-class person. So be patient and the right match for you will come along. I promise he will appear.
● Do not go chasing after love. Love begins with loving and accepting yourself as God meant you to be, including all your talents and your faults. Take the time to discover who you are, what you like and what your talents are; take the time to explore your dreams. If you are true to yourself and are patient in finding your partner in life, your mate will find you when you are ready for him. Let love find you.
● Experience what life has to offer you. The world is a small place and full of a variety of people, music, foods, art, culture and traditions. All of those things, and so much more, are within reach for you. Try new things and keep an open mind. Be open to learning new ideas and discovering how similar you are to people from different cultures, religions,and regions. We are all part of the same family – the human family. With that said, be adventurous but not reckless. If something doesn’t feel right for you avoid it.
● Listen to that inner voice. You know the one I am talking about, don’t you? It’s the one in your “gut” that warns you that what you are contemplating doing isn’t a good idea. It’s also the same voice that encourages you to spread your wings and soar. Pay attention to it. I encourage you to spend some time (a minute or two will suffice) in quiet and stillness each day to stay in tune with that “Voice”. That is one way that God speaks to you.
● Take the time to appreciate and notice the beauty in the world around you. Make the time to let beauty and love into your life. Notice how blue the sky is, how the grass smells, how warm the sun is on your face, how delicious the cake tastes. These little wonders are around us all the time to remind us of how much of a miracle life is, how much we are loved to have these little wonders in our world and how much we are part of the miracle! These beauties are here to help us through the dark times, to remind us that the tough times will not last forever. Look for the beauty even in the ugliest of scenes – it is there.
● To the extent it depends on you, be kind to yourself and to others. Treat others as you would like other people to treat you. Be a positive force of change in the world by being that positive force for change in yourself. If you want the world to be more peaceful, be peaceful yourself; if you want to see more love, tolerance and humanity then be more loving, tolerant of people who are different from you and be more generous with your neighbors. No one ever became poor by giving of themselves.
One last thing before I end this letter. I want you to know that no matter what happens, no matter where life takes you, no matter how far away you are … you always, always, always have family who loves you to the moon and back. Never forget that … never.
I love you both with all my heart … forever.